Nordic Blue Parks
From a marine archaeology and scientific standpoint, the Baltic Sea can be seen as a paradise. There could be as many as 100,000 shipwrecks lying on its seabed.
Countries of the Nordic region located around the Baltic Sea – Denmark, Finland and Sweden – have developed a joint initiative to protect this inestimable heritage and ensure public access to the wrecks. The one-year pilot project, untitled Nordic Blue Parks, led by a Finish state company, Metsähallitus, aims at formulating criteria and guidelines for sustainable blue trails and setting up trails to test the concept. The project uses the existing underwater nature and cultural trails as examples.
Sweden is particularly rich in underwater heritage with its dramatic drop-off and unique ecosystem, majestic wrecks and crystal-clear lakes. All along the Swedish coastline, from the West coasts to the Aaland Islands, passing by the Stockholm archipelago, and even the inland Great Lakes, many wreck sites are accessible to divers.
Dalarö represents a model underwater park. The archipelago, located southeast of Stockholm, was an important stop on the trade route to Stockholm and contains many well-preserved shipwrecks from the 17th and 18th century. Access to protected wrecks is controlled to avoid damage and divers are accompanied by licensed guides. Non-divers can access the underwater cultural heritage onboard boats equipped with ROV or on land thanks to exhibitions organised by the local tourist office and the local historic community association.
Dalarö Blue Park can provide a role-model for local authorities, heritage boards and maritime museums in the Baltic Sea Region. The objective is to enable high-quality intermediation and enhanced accessibility to a better preserved underwater cultural heritage.